Handling Leadership Challenges in a Plugged-In World

Most professionals today are constantly plugged in, with email accessible in the palm of their hand at all hours. But how does this propensity to always be turned on affect today’s leaders and their need to evolve?

For one, the feeling that we’re constantly “on call” means that we’re often in a situation where a decision needs to be made, even when one’s attention isn’t completely focused on the task at hand. Thus, the ability to be a good multi-tasker is a must.

The other thing is that one needs to work really hard to set aside time for oneself. Just because you can be plugged in all the time doesn’t mean you should be answering emails all day every day. If you don’t develop a habit of responding to every email immediately and do your best to prioritize the really important ones, then people won’t always expect you to answer ASAP. I know that I’m much more on my A game when I’ve taken the time to relax and enjoy some “me” time, letting certain less pressing emails wait a day or two when possible.

Even though technology makes it really simple to communicate with people from all parts of the world, how well you communicate is also challenged by the very fact that there are so many means by which to do so. We’ve all encountered situations in which a message gets misconstrued over email. If you regularly work remotely, try to use video calls when communicating with colleagues or clients. This technology allows you to engage in an open dialogue and allows those involved to ask questions.

Determining who should be involved in certain communications has also become challenging in these technology-driven times. It’s much easier to CC someone on an email than to call him/her into a meeting, which often involves cross-checking multiple schedules. Today’s leaders really need to pause and ask themselves:

  • Does this person really need to know what we’re discussing?
  • How will adding this person to the chain help us better communicate as a group?

Of course, sometimes it’s imperative that multiple people be involved in a correspondence, but more often than not it seems that we over-include on the email front rather than forget to include relevant parties.

Today’s leaders struggle with a number of challenges not previously dealt with by their predecessors. It is therefore important that we all work hard to adapt to these challenges and in doing so encourage a more productive work environment.


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Julie Perry edits nonfiction sports books at Skyhorse Publishing. She is also a part-time tutor in New York City. In her free time, Julie enjoys cheering for her favorite sports teams (especially the Mets), reading, writing and eating lots of sushi. A graduate of Brandeis University, Julie received her Masters degree from New York University.